Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month (also known as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month) is a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).
Celebrated in May, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, commemorates the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, as the majority of the workers were Chinese immigrants. It also celebrates the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
This celebration came about in June 1978, when Frank Horton proposed that the President set aside the 7th through the 10th of the month as ‘Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.’ This joint resolution was passed by the House and then the Senate and was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 5, 1978. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress expanded the observance to a month for 1990. Then in 1992, the official designation of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.
For more information: